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    ICESCO and Diplomatic Club of Rabat Explore Cooperation Prospects

    A delegation from the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) met on Wednesday, February 6, in a videoconference with a delegation of the Diplomatic Club for Charity of Rabat to explore cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

    Dr. Mohamed Zinelabidine, Director of the Sector of Culture and Communication, headed the delegation, which comprised Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, Advisor to the Director-General; Ms. Rime Jirari, Head of the Division of Organizations and Bodies at the Sector of Cooperation and Partnerships; and Mr. Bilel Chebbi, Expert at the Sector of Culture and Communication.

    Ms. Zeina Barakat, the wife of the Ambassador of the Lebanese Republic to Rabat, President of the Club, presided over the delegation of the Club, with the participation of Ms. Nadia Al Hadithi, wife of the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Morocco; Dr. Yousra Al Jazairy, Acting Cultural Attaché at Saudi Arabia in Morocco; and Ms. Yolanda Jah, Cultural Officer.

    During the meeting, the parties agreed to jointly translate the book “Flavors of the World” into Arabic, to be published by the end of February 2021. The two parties discussed the inscription of Ramadan table and its associated rituals on the Islamic World Heritage List. The participants also proposed publishing a book on the important role of Ramadan table and its relevant values and principles in entrenching respect for cultural diversity and promoting coexistence values. They examined cooperation to submit the inscription file on the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage.

    At the close of the meeting, the Club’s members reiterated their thanks to ICESCO for its unwavering support and efforts to protect cultural heritage in the Islamic world.

    ICESCO Calls for Global Partnership in Islamic Art

      Dr. Salim M. Al-Malik, Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) called on international organizations, government bodies, and associations working in the field of culture and arts to increase their coordination efforts. The goal is to develop a mutually agreed global artistic system on the role of art in building human civilization and spreading the values of peace.

    The DG underscored that art is capable of unifying peoples and nations, refining the spirit of creativity, consolidating cultural diversity and respect for others, and promoting coexistence.

    The statement came as part of the DG’s address during the “International Virtual Symposium on the Contribution of Islamic Art to Building Human civilization and Spreading Peace Values.” ICESCO held yesterday the event in celebration, for the first time, of the International Day of Islamic Art.

    The Symposium brought together the representatives of specialized international and regional organizations, ministers, and curators of museums of Islamic art in the world.

    On the occasion, Dr. Al-Malik thanked Bahrain for submitting a proposal to allocate a day for celebrating Islamic art. The General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved the proposal, and the countries of the Islamic world adopted the initiative, following a recommendation from the 2019 UNESCO Executive Council. The goal was to acknowledge the importance of Islamic art and its contribution to building human civilization throughout history.

    ICESCO DG stated that the Organization prepared, during the week from 18 to 25 November 2020, an integrated program to celebrate the International Day of Islamic Art. The week’s agenda featured several artistic and creative activities and cultural and literary salons. The agenda also included virtual exhibitions of modern and contemporary art using the Islamic civilization and culture as inspiration; and competitions on Arabic calligraphy to publicize the great contribution of Islamic art to building human civilization.

    Dr. AlMalik emphasized that Islamic art remained steadfast through time, present and renewable in all parts of the world, representing the image of a man and his creativity and that we must give insight into what the Islamic civilization has provided to humanity throughout history. He explained that the various types of Islamic art that have shaped Islamic architecture and formed a distinct personality and identity that has left its imprints in all civilizations.

    The DG pointed out that ICESCO scheduled, as part of its priorities for the next decade, several programs aimed at supporting art across the world, under its civilization program “ICESCO’s Roads to the Future.”  The umbrella program is key to implementing the Organization’s strategic plan for building partnerships and strengthening cooperation.

    The cooperation, Dr. AlMalik concluded, is reflected in the establishment of the International Center for Arts, ICESCO’s Cultural and Academic Chairs, to promote the Organization’s virtual culture in fiction, poetry, and literature.

    ICESCO Announces Winners of Short Films Award

    The Jury of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) Short Films Award held its last meeting on November 11, 2020, to select the winners. ICESCO launched the Award last March as part of its “Distance Culture” initiative, in cooperation with Layan Cultural Foundation, under the presidency of HH Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud.
    ICESCO will announce the winners on Thursday, November 19, 2020, as part of its celebration of the International Week of Islamic Art.

    The Jury is made up of Dr. Mohamed Zine El Abidine, Director of Culture and Communication Sector at ICESCO; Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, Cultural Advisor to ICESCO Director-General (DG), Jury Chairman; Dr. Najib Rhiati, Advisor to the General Directorate, Rapporteur of the Jury; Khaled Ibrahimi, Film Director; Mohammed Chouika, Film Critic and Writer; Abdelilah Hamdouchi, Novelist and Screenwriter; as well as Mr. Nassim Mohand Amer, Program Director at the Culture and Communication Sector.

    The Jury drew on ICESCO’s fields of interest in the assessment of the short films, such as environment and sustainable development, culture, heritage protection, and the rights of children, disabled people, and girls. The assessment also hinged upon technical criteria, namely the concept, filmmaking, scenario, and picture of the short film.

    During the meeting, the jury selected the top six short films out of the 180 films received from the Asian, Arab, and African regions. Every two films will receive one award based on their quality.
    ICESCO launched a set of contests during the lockdown period, which included various creative fields such as the short story, drawing, music, and short films. These contests saw great participation from all over the world.

    ICESCO and Qatari Ministry of Culture Coordinate Celebration of Doha as Capital of Islamic Culture for 2021

    Dr. Mohammed Zine El Abidine, Director of Culture and Communication Sector at the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and Belal Chabi, Expert at Culture and Communication Sector, held on November 1, a coordination meeting with the officials of the Qatari Ministry of Culture and Youth and the Secretary-General of the Qatari National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science. The meeting explored the preparations for the celebration of Doha as Capital of Islamic Culture for 2021.

    During the videoconference, the two parties discussed the arrangements for the official launch of the celebration, the draft program, and the key proposed activities and main cooperating parties. The meeting also stressed the importance of coordination between the ministries and the concerned sector to ensure the success of the celebration.

    The Qatari officials proposed January 16, 2021, as the launch date of the celebration, concurrently with the close of Doha International Book Fair. The officials also undertook to provide ICESCO with the major programs to be implemented. The activities will include regional and international exhibitions, festivals, international symposia, and cultural weeks mainly targeting women and youth.

    ICESCO’s representatives undertook to provide the Qatari officials with the major activities to be implemented as part of the Doha celebration. The measures fall under ICESCO’s new vision that focuses on establishing centers and developing programs and initiatives to promote the position of culture in Muslim countries, mainly “ICESCO Digital Home,” “ICESCO International Arts Center,” “Islamic World Heritage Center” and “ICESCO Chairs.”

    At the close of the meeting, the two parties considered the possibility of shifting towards virtual activities if the pandemic persists. The officials agreed to hold a videoconference or face-to-face coordination meeting by the end of November 2020, to review the preparations for the celebration.

    ICESCO’s Jury for Creativity Prize Holds Meeting

    The Jury of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) Creativity Prize held a meeting on October 20, at the Organization’s headquarters to examine the contest nominations for the short stories, poetry, painting, and music.

    The Jury consists of Dr. Mohamed Zin Al-Abidin, Director of the Culture and Communication sector, Dr. Abdelilah Benarafa, Cultural Advisor of the Director-General, and Dr. Najib Rhiati, Advisor to the General Directorate. It also included ICESCO’s experts Dr. Oussama Nahas and Dr. Mohammed Ansari.

    After processing submissions, the Jury shortlisted 15 short stories, six in Arabic, eight in English, and one in French. It also shortlisted two musical works, noting that it will announce results soon.

    The contest is part of ICESCO’s lockdown initiatives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It falls within ICESCO’s “Distance Culture” Initiative to support young people’s talents, harness their creativity, and raise their spirits amid the current health emergency.

    ICESCO’s prizes covered various creative fields such as short films, painting, and short stories, and saw the participation of a large number of contestants from different countries.

    ICESCO Announces Program Plan to Outline and Index Civilizational and Cultural Roads

    The Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, called on the Ministers of Cultures and the competent parties in the Islamic world to take part in ICESCO’s program for joint inscription of models of civilizational roads and historic cultural routes.

    The DG also invited Member States to submit technical files to inscribe all their tangible and intangible heritage sites and elements on the Islamic World Heritage List (IWHL).

    ICESCO’s DG made the call in his address at the Virtual International Forum on “Consonance of Civilizations on the Silk Road.” The International Turkic Academy (ITA), in Kazakhstan, organized the event in commemoration of the 1150th anniversary of the philosopher Abu Nasr Al-Farabi.

    Dr. AlMalik presented the plan of “ICESCO International Program for Roads and Routes,” which outlines and indexes all current and future civilizational, cultural, and heritage roads. To ensure the success of this endeavor, the DG stated that the Organization needs the support of its Member States and all the regional and international cultural heritage institutions with extensive expertise in this field.

    The Organization will allocate all its resources and capacities to ensure the success of the program, stated Dr. AlMalik. He added that the Organization is willing to cooperate in training and capacity building and commits to provide study grants for students to conduct research on the topic of civilizational roads and routes in the Islamic world.

    Dr. AlMalik also stated that civilizational roads contributed to building civilizations, promoting cultural harmony, bringing nations together, and anchoring the foundations of security.
    “Today, more than ever before, we are in dire need for similar roads, albeit taking different forms. The roads we need today rely on modern technology and are capable of contributing to the attainment of sustainable development,” he noted.

    The DG addressed the purpose of creating these civilizational roads. He stated that even though the Silk Road and many others were primarily created for commercial purposes they also contributed to the cultural and religious exchange. He gave the example of the Hajj Road, which alone left a literary and cultural treasure consisting of pilgrimage journeys where pilgrims documented their travel experiences. He further noted that pilgrims meticulously recorded the aspects of history, civilization, and geography, becoming outstanding knowledge references for subsequent generations.

    ITA organized the forum to celebrate the life and work of the great Muslim philosopher, who was born in 874 in the Farap region in Kazakhstan. He was a renowned scientific figure who had great contributions to the medical field. ITA was created by virtue of the Nakhchivan Agreement signed in 2009. The Academy operates in the fields of science and education and has been operating from Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan since 2010.

    ICESCO Allocates USD 1 million to Restore Collections of 30 Museums in Islamic World

    Initiative to create accessible routes in museums and provide exhibit labels in Braille

    The Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, announced that the Organization allocated one million dollars to restore the collections of 30 museums affected by crises in the Islamic world.

    Dr. AlMalik called on countries, government institutions, and authorities in charge of heritage to continue discharging their roles during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The stakeholders must take all the necessary measures to reopen museums and raise peoples’ awareness of the importance of their preservation, he added.

    The statement came in at his address during the opening session of the international webinar “Using Technology in Managing Risks and Crises Facing Museums in the Muslim World.” ICESCO held the event on September 30, in cooperation with the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

    The event saw the participation of several museum managers in the Islamic world. The opening session featured Princess Dana Firas, President of the Jordanian National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS Jordan), Dr. Mohamed Ould Amar, Director General of Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), and Mr. Ech cherki Dahmali, Vice-President of the Arab Museums Organization (ICOM-Arab).

    Dr. AlMalik proclaimed the creation of the Network of Islamic Art Museums. The Organization also adopted an initiative to aid people with specific needs to tour museums through the creation of accessibilities, and preparation of exhibit labels in Braille, he continued.

    The DG also reiterated ICESCO’s willingness to cooperate and partner with all organizations interested in museums, namely ICOM.

    Dr. AlMalik underscored that the vulnerable infrastructures of museums in the Islamic world remain an impediment to publicizing their treasures. At the time the webinar was taking place, about 94% of museums in the world were closed since last March and several Islamic world’s museums faced the threat of complete closure.

    ICESCO’s DG underlined the importance of taking advantage of technological advances and AI applications to promote the cultural sector. Modern technology can improve the situation of museums, manage the risks within cultural institutions, and allow the large public access to the cultural property the Islamic world’s museums host, either through websites or virtual visits on social networks.

    Dr. AlMalik noted that ICESCO is keeping pace with the changes unfolding in the world through proactive foresight as the world witnesses a technological revolution and imminent authority of AI in digital cultural transformation. He added that vulnerable countries need to be guided during the transformation to avoid the cultural divide, an inevitable corollary fallout of the widening digital disparity.

    Egyptian Virtual Museum Joins ICESCO Digital Home

    To promote cooperation between the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt, coinciding with the celebration of the Islamic World Heritage Day, on 25 September, ICESCO Digital Home hosts the treasures of the “Egyptian Virtual Museum.” The platform provides 3-D access (through virtual reality technology) to the major Egyptian museums and heritage sites from various historical periods.

    Visitors of ICESCO Digital Home can have access to the Egyptian Museum, Museum of Islamic Art, and Gayer-Anderson Museum in Historic Cairo. They can also visit the Red Monastery in Souhag, which is inscribed on ICESCO’s Islamic World Heritage List, Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, Ramesses VI Tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Mosque of Muhammad Ali, and Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo. These sites are available via the link below:


    The Organization launched the ICESCO Digital Home initiative at the beginning of the lockdown period. The platform is an outstanding knowledge resource contributing to the efforts to counter the negative repercussions of the pandemic on education, science, and culture.

     The section, devoted to distance culture, includes many international arts exhibitions and millions of books and knowledge sources from Alexandria Library, Sharjah Library, and King Fahd National Library. The Digital Platform of Mohammadia League of Scholars in Morocco is also part of the online content.

    ICESCO Calls for Respecting Cultural and Historical Rights in Nagorno-Karabakh

    As a specialized organization concerned with heritage, culture, and education, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) expresses its concern over the latest developments of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh and the acts of destruction targeting archaeological and heritage sites and historical landmarks with significant civilizational value, including several mosques and historical sacred places. Accordingly, ICESCO calls the conflicting parties to exercise the utmost restraint and opt for serene dialogue and the resolutions of international legitimacy endorsed by many countries and international organizations including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

    Recalling the Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874, and 884 issued in 1993 relevant to the Armenian violations, ICESCO calls on the parties to abide by the principles of international law; respect the historical and cultural rights of their legitimate owners; allow access of international humanitarian relief to the region without any impediments, and endeavor to consolidate peace, good neighborliness, and constructive cooperation between the countries of the region.

    ICESCO to hold International Webinar to Explore Technology Use in Crises Management in Islamic World’s Museums

    The Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) will hold tomorrow, September 30, an international webinar titled “Using Modern Technology in Managing Risks and Crises facing Museums in the Muslim world.”
    The Organization will hold the webinar concurrently with the celebration of the Museum Week and Islamic World Heritage Day, in cooperation with the International Council of Museums (ICOM). The event will bring together officials of Islamic world’s museums.
    The webinar will start at 11:00 GMT (12:00 Rabat Time). It aims to share successful experiences and anticipate plans and strategies to ensure the right to access museums and valorize the exhibited works. The issue is particularly pertinent amid the pandemic-related circumstances.
    The webinar targets the staff of the museum institutions and sectors, experts, and specialists of heritage protection as well as civil society institutions and bodies operating in the field of heritage protection and valorization.
    The opening session will feature the addresses of Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG); Her Highness Princess Dana Firas, President of ICOMOS Jordan; Dr. Mohamed Ouled Amer, DG of the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (ALECSO); and Mr. Ech Cherki Dahmali, DG of Maroc Telecom Museum.
    Dr. Mohamed Zin El-Abidine, Director of Culture and Communication Sector at ICESCO, will co-chair the first session with Dr. Abdelilah Ben Arafa, Advisor to the DG. The session will focus on the use of modern technology in crisis management at museums.
    The list of the speakers will include Maj. Gen. Atef Moftah, General Supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM); Dr. Badr al-Darwish, Assistant Secretary General of Kuwait’s National Council for the Arts and Culture (Kuwait); and Dr. Fatma Nait Aghil, Director of Bardo National Museum (Tunisia).
    Other speakers will be Dr. Hamady Bocoum, Director of the Museum of Black Civlizations, Dakar (Senegal); Dr. Saad Abdelhadi, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Mahmoud Dawish Museum (Palestine); and Dr. Ahlam bint Yaaqub Al-Aghbariya, Director of Information Technology Department at the National Museum of Oman, Muscat (Oman).
    Ambassador Khalid Fathalrahman, Director of Dialogue and Cultural Diversity at ICESCO, will chair the second session. The goal is to explore the alternative solutions to managing museums and exhibitions in light of the COVID-19 health protocol.
    The list of speakers will include Dr. Faisal bin Mohamed Al-Sharif, Former Supervisor of Mecca Museum (Saudi Arabia); and Dr. Sabah Abdel Razak, DG of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, Egypt.
    Other speakers will be Dr. Rasmata Sawadogo, Director of the National Museum in Ouagadougou, Coordinator of ICESCO Regional Center for Training Museum Professionals (Burkina Faso); Dr. Huges Tchana Heumen, Director of the National Museum (Cameroon); and Dr. Abbes Mendil, Director of Governorates Museums (Iraq).
    Dr. AlMalik will give the closing address of the Webinar.

    The live is available on ICESCO’s Facebook page via the link: https://www.facebook.com/icesco.en